The Joy of Judging

We are Looking for Competition Judges!

medium image of Chesapeake Bay and Mid Atlantic states
Chesapeake Bay and Mid-Atlantic States
Photo credit: NASA/USGS/Landsat

Judge Applications are now being accepted. We will accept judge applications through 3 November 2016.

If you are ready to experience the joy of judging, we need your help.

Entries are arriving for the Washington, DC – Baltimore (WDCB) chapter's 2016 Summit Competition for Technical Communication. Would you like to see them? Are you ready to help evaluate them? If you think you may be, here's a brief summary of what's in store.

The Call for Entries in our technical communication competition was announced on 8 August. More announcements about the competition will appear in websites, blogs, tweets, and lists. The competition is coming together but we can not hold it successfully without the commitment of a group of qualified and enthusiastic judges. We recruit judges from among professional communicators in the Washington, DC and Baltimore metropolitan areas, and beyond. Membership in STC is not a requirement.

Judges Training

The deadline for entries is 28 October 2016. Between 28 October and 3 November, entries are logged and team judging assignments are made for each competition category. The entries are sorted into packages for each team on 3 November for the Entries Pick-Up and Judges' Training meeting.

On Saturday, 5 November, the judges assemble to receive their judging materials, entries, and instructions. They meet the other members of their judging team, get training from experienced judges on how to evaluate an entry, and have their questions answered.

Judging Teams and Consensus Judging

Over the next five weeks, judges read and examine their assigned entries. They discover—or rediscover—the joy of encountering excellence in published manuals, reports, training materials, journals, brochures, marketing and PR materials, magazines, help systems, websites, user support materials, and more. As they begin to form opinions and record their evaluations in the judging forms, the judges apply all the knowledge and experience at their disposal. They prepare their comments for the entrants and a defense of their decisions for the consensus meeting.

On Saturday, 3 December 2016, the judges meet again to discuss the entries and decide which ones deserve an award based on specified criteria. Entries are not judged against each other. Some entries stand out as award winners; others elicit debate. The judges relish the opportunity to compare notes on design, presentation of information, layout, and overall quality of an entry. When a judging team reaches a consensus about an entry, they assign an award level and nominate one or more of their Distinguished Technical Communication awardees for consideration as the Best of Show. The Best of Show judging team then selects the Best of Show and the Best Student Entry. Veteran and new judges leave the Consensus Meeting with a sense of a job well done. They have judged the work of their peers and shared their passion for excellence in communication. Many are eager to do it all over again in future years.

Thank you!

For questions, contact the competition manager, Richard Bogacz, at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

The Joy of Entering

medium image of Chesapeake Bay and Mid Atlantic states
Chesapeake Bay and Mid-Atlantic States
Photo credit: NASA/USGS/Landsat
Entry deadline: 7 p.m. Eastern Time,
Friday, 28 October 2016

You are invited to submit your best work to the scrutiny of your fellow professionals in the chapter's 2016 Summit Competition for Technical Communication. Now is the time to consider what you want to enter and get it prepared.

The STC Washington, DC – Baltimore (WDCB) chapter continues to hold a local technical communication competition. This post continues our tradition of presenting some reasons why you might enjoy entering the STC WDCB Summit Competition for Technical Communication.

Are You an Award-Winning Technical Communicator?

For those of you who haven't entered before, let me explain the basics. STC competitions recognize and encourage excellence in online communication and technical publications. Our chapter competition receives entries from DC, Maryland, and Virginia, as well as from other states and from other countries. Washington, DC and Baltimore metropolitan area experts and some remote online judges gather to evaluate the entries in the competition. The judges provide written feedback on the strengths or weaknesses of each entry with reference to a standard in each category. The judges make recommendations that you may apply to future endeavors. Many entrants regard this feedback as a valuable part of their participation.

Some of the joys of entering are the pride you have in putting forth your best work, the validation you feel by being measured against the highest standards in our profession, and the opportunity to receive a knowledgeable and thoughtful critique of your entry. As an entrant, you are proud of your accomplishments. You and the judges realize that the final entry represents months of planning, writing, editing, and publishing.

Submitting a publication or online entry is a great way to keep growing in a fast-paced industry. Having your decisions and standards recognized by industry experts is real insider validation! Awards can bring recognition from professional peers and increased visibility with employers and clients.

As an entrant, you'll be invited to our Awards Celebration where all winning entries are on display. You will be able to see what others in our field are producing. The Awards Celebration is also a place to network with the local technical communication community.

Who is Eligible to Enter?

Anyone is eligible to submit entries. You do not have to be a member of STC. You can be a full-time student or a professional. You may enter work as an individual or for a colleague or member of your department.

What Can You Enter?

Technical, scientific, medical, or research-based content for external or internal audiences produced or revised within 24 months preceding 1 September 2016. These include websites, blogs, videos, journals, teaching material, computer software and hardware manuals, books, ebooks, magazines, periodicals, research papers, posters, scholarly or trade news articles, online help for software applications, and user support materials. Entries may also include marketing and PR material from a technical organization such as brochures, catalogs, flyers, technical advertisements, promotional websites, corporate identity, newsletters, annual reports, policies and procedures, and employee guides. Entries must be suitable for public display. Entries that contain classified or proprietary information such as corporate proposals or that violate copyright laws are not acceptable. For more information, see the Chapter Competition Entry Rules and the descriptions of the Competition Categories.

Students can gain much from professional evaluation of their work. Entries by full-time students prepared for and accepted for publication are eligible for our local-level competition and may continue on to the international-level competition. Student entries not prepared for and accepted for publication will be accepted by our local-level competition only. While such entries will be judged in our local competition, they cannot advance to the international competition because they do not meet the publication acceptance requirement.

By entering the competition, you help educate clients and employers about what technical communicators do. Your entries demonstrate the value technical communicators bring to a product by providing the right information, in the right way, at the right time to make life easier and more productive for product support staff and users.

Announcement letters will be e-mailed in mid December 2016 to let all entrants know if they won or did't win an award.

Good luck!

International-Level Competition Notes

As part of the award for our Distinguished Technical Communication (DTC) award winners, the chapter will enter all DTCs in the ISA and pay the international entry fee and shipping cost. Excellence award winners qualify to submit their entries to STC's International Summit Awards" (ISA) competition at their own expense. Only Distinguished and Excellence chapter competition winners may be entered in the ISA competition.

For questions, contact the competition manager, Richard Bogacz, at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

The Joy of Entering the 2015-2016 Summit Competition for Technical Communication

Landsat image of the Chesapeake Bay and Mid Atlantic states

medium image of Chesapeake Bay and Mid Atlantic states
Chesapeake Bay and Mid-Atlantic States
Photo credit: NASA/USGS/Landsat
Entry deadline: 7 p.m. Eastern Time,
Monday, 16 November 2015

You are invited to submit your best work to the scrutiny of your fellow professionals in the chapter's 2015-2016 Summit Competition for Technical Communication. Now is the time to consider what you want to enter and get it prepared.

The STC Washington, DC – Baltimore Chapter continues to hold a local technical communication competition. This post continues our tradition of presenting some reasons why you might enjoy entering the STC WDCB Summit Competition for Technical Communication.

Are You an Award-Winning Technical Communicator?

For those of you who haven't entered before, let me explain the basics. STC competitions recognize and encourage excellence in online communication and technical publications. Our chapter competition receives entries from DC, Maryland, and Virginia, as well as from other states and from other countries. Washington, DC and Baltimore metropolitan area experts and some remote online judges gather to evaluate the entries in the competition. The judges provide written feedback on the strengths or weaknesses of each entry with reference to a standard in each category. The judges make recommendations that you may apply to future endeavors. Many entrants regard this feedback as a valuable part of their participation.

Some of the joys of entering are the pride you have in putting forth your best work, the validation you feel by being measured against the highest standards in our profession, and the opportunity to receive a knowledgeable and thoughtful critique of your entry. As an entrant, you are proud of your accomplishments. You and the judges realize that the final entry represents months of planning, writing, editing, and publishing.

Submitting a publication or online entry is a great way to keep growing in a fast-paced industry. Having your decisions and standards recognized by industry experts is real insider validation! Awards can bring recognition from professional peers and increased visibility with employers and clients.

As an entrant, you'll be invited to our Awards Celebration where all winning entries are on display. You will be able to see what others in our field are producing. The Awards Celebration is also a place to network with the technical communication community.

Who is Eligible to Enter?

Anyone is eligible to submit entries. You do not have to be a member of STC. You can be a full-time student or a professional. You may enter work as an individual or for a colleague or member of your department.

What Can You Enter?

Technical, scientific, medical, or similar content for external or internal audiences produced or revised within 24 months preceding 1 September 2015. These include websites, blogs, journals, teaching material, computer software and hardware manuals, books, magazines, periodicals, research papers, posters, scholarly or trade news articles, online help for software applications, and user support materials. Entries may also include marketing and PR material from a technical organization such as brochures, catalogs, flyers, technical advertisements, promotional websites, corporate identity, newsletters, annual reports, policies and procedures, and employee guides. For more information, see the Chapter Competition Entry Rules and the descriptions of the Competition Categories.

Full-time students may submit entries that are prepared for and accepted for publication by a client, employer, or publisher. The entries by student winners of Distinguished Technical Communication and Excellence awards may continue on to the international-level competition.

Student entries not prepared for and accepted for publication will be accepted by our local-level competition only. Students can gain much from professional evaluation of their work. While such entries will be judged in our local competition, they cannot advance to the international competition because they do not meet the publication acceptance requirement.

By entering the competition, you help educate clients and employers about what technical communicators do. Your entries demonstrate the value technical communicators bring to a product by providing the right information, in the right way, at the right time to make life easier and more productive for product support staff and users. Good luck!

International-Level Competition Notes

All Distinguished Technical Communication (DTC) and Excellence award winners in STC local-level competitions are eligible to enter the STC international-level competition, named the STC "International Summit Awards" (ISA). If you think your entry to our competition is capable of going on to the international level, be sure to reserve an extra (1) copy of your entry to send to us to include for the international competition entry. As part of the award for our Distinguished Technical Communication (DTC) and Excellence award winners, the chapter will pay the international entry fee and shipping cost.

Letters will be mailed in mid January 2016 to let all entrants know if they won or did't win an award.